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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > England

Winner Details

English Sparkling Wine

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 10 Bronze: 4 Commended: 8
2016 Gold: 7 Silver: 13 Bronze: 5 Commended: 8

There are both positives and negatives to becoming well known. Five years ago our tasters were deliriously happy to discover that the UK could make half-decent fizz at all; now they expect it. And when it doesn’t deliver across the board, there is disappointment – particularly for prices that are typically closer to champagne than to premium prosecco.

This was still a strong performance from the Britpop gang, but the words ‘mixed bag’ came up time after time, with that trademark UK zingy acidity sometimes tipping over into a less sexy green, aggressive mid-palate.

This was the smallest number of Golds since 2014, and interestingly, given that for many the South Downs is the beating heart of the country’s fizz, for the first time ever not a single top medal went to Sussex.

It’s becoming a must-list, but you need to choose your listings with care on this evidence…

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There’s a clear difference between champagne and English sparkling wine.’ Antonio Cuadros, The Don Restaurant

‘There’s more and more demand for English wine – it’s a market that’s only going to grow. But the pricing is too aggressive – they’re competing with Champagne.’ Frédéric Billet, Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

‘I had very high expectations. Towards the lower end of price the wines delivered, and towards the higher end. But in the middle the wines lacked complexity, maturity and ripeness; very green and citric.’ Olivier Marie, team leader

‘I strongly believe in this category and sell it by the glass. It’s the most interesting stuff for me right now.’ Tanya Mann, Linden House Stansted

‘I thought this would be a pretty amazing flight – the perception is very high – but in fact it was a mixed bag. Some were quite expensive and they didn’t hit the mark. The best wines were elegant, complex, mature. The worst were a bit one dimensional, a bit boring.’ James Hocking, The Vineyard Group

 

Award winners

Found 26 wines

Sparkling: England

Wyfold Vineyard, Brut 2011, Oxfordshire, England

Gold medal winner

This ripe Chardonnay-based blend proved ‘that the UK has a place in the fizz market’, according to Charles Ashby-Taylor of Dabbous. Team leader Sam Capon MW joined in its praise, describing a wine that had ‘pretty balance, nice autolysis, good freshness and a saline note’. ‘This is a fashionable style, classy and nutty with salty mineral notes. It would be good for a high-end restaurant,’ concluded Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted.

£21.96 Laithwaite's Wine

Lyme Bay, Classic Cuvée 2013, Devon, England

Gold medal winner

Understated at first, Lyme Bay’s Classic Cuvée soon won judges over with bright freshness and a great price tag. Neil Tabraham of Paris House spoke of a ‘bright nose, grapefruit and green apples’, while Antonio Cuadros of The Don Restaurant enjoyed its ‘strawberry fruit and quite saline style’, also finding ‘barnyard notes, but subtle and elegant on the palate with a good, rounded finish’. ‘Generous minerality with a touch of steeliness and lovely mousse,’ added team leader Olivier Marie.

£17.26 Lyme Bay Winery

Bride Valley, Brut Reserve 2014, Dorset, England

Gold medal winner

Earning its place on the Gold List with generous fruit and freshness, this sparkler was described by James Fryer of Portland Restaurant as having a ‘green apple nose, leading to red apple and cherry blossom, and a very pretty finish’. ‘Good mousse with refreshing green fruit, rather yeasty, but good acidity with brioche notes and a long finish,’ said Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle. ‘Well balanced, good for an aperitif,’ concluded team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£24.51 Liberty Wines

Harrow & Hope, Brut Reserve NV, Thames & Chilterns, England

Gold medal winner

Snapping up another Gold for England, this was ‘opulent, with bags of character, and would work wonders with food’, according to Charles Carron Brown of The Forest Side Grasmere. Remarking on its unusual fruit flavours and a particularly ‘smoky’ character, Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle highlighted its ‘peach notes and creamy texture with firm bubbles, blood orange and fresh apple juice with a good finish’.

£21.77 Jascots Wine Merchants

Denbies, Greenfields NV, Surrey, England

Silver medal winner

Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates felt there was ‘lovely substance’ to this wine, with its ‘green apple fruit, toast, lively acidity and good mousse’, while Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot found it ‘rounded and not too complex, with baked apples and citrus’.

£16.66 Denbies Wine Estate

Albury Estate, Classic Cuvée 2013, Surrey, England

Silver medal winner

‘An elegant style with nice mousse, fruity character and good acidity, clean and long on the finish,’ said Francisco Macedo of Bovey Castle, with team leader Laurent Richet MS also finding notes of ‘nutty orange peel, balanced yeast and biscuit’.

£18.90 Vintage Roots, Mason & Mason Wines, S H Jones, Yorkshire Vintners, Milton Sandford

Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Hindleap, Barrel Aged Blanc de Blancs 2013, Sussex, England

Silver medal winner

‘A richer style, with more nutty character on the nose, then cream and toasty buttery notes,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, concluding: ‘Good quality, well balanced on the palate with a nice smoky edge to it.’

£21.05 Ellis of Richmond

Gusbourne, Blanc de Blancs 2012, Kent, England

Silver medal winner

‘Light and fresh with balanced aromas, delicate fruit flavours on the palate making it a pleasantly bright wine,’ said consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates.

£25.00 Adnams, Clark Foyster Wines, Gusbourne Estate, Wright Wine Co, Tanners Wine Merchants, Butlers, Shepherd Neame, Field and Fawcett, Woodwinters

Gusbourne, Brut Reserve 2013, Kent, England

Silver medal winner

‘Clean on the nose with fresh brioche, a creamy palate with direct acidity and baked apple fruit with more brioche notes,’ said The Vineyard Group’s James Hocking. ‘Great complexity, with apple skins, almond notes and a ripe mouthfeel,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£21.00 Adnams, Clark Foyster Wines, Gusbourne Estate, Wright Wine Co, Tanners Wine Merchants, Butlers, Shepherd Neame, Field and Fawcett, Woodwinters

Wiston Estate, Cuvée Brut 2013, South Downs, England

Silver medal winner

James Hocking of The Vineyard Group was clearly impressed with this wine’s ‘classy, leesy’ character, highlighting its ‘opulent and refined, well-made style, with some brioche notes, apple and baked bread’, and summing up: ‘Yes!’

£23.15 Wiston Estate Winery

Henners, Brut Vintage 2011, East Sussex, England

Silver medal winner

James Hocking of The Vineyard Group found it ‘ripe with fresh fruit, delicate in aroma and flavour with nice notes of baked apple and brioche’, while team leader Laurent Richet MS also found a ‘delicate nose of red cherries’.

£19.55 Boutinot

Hattingley Valley, Blanc de Blancs 2011, Hampshire, England

Silver medal winner

Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates enjoyed its ‘intense red apple and quince jelly aroma notes, and complex, rich and well-balanced palate’, while Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot summed it up as simply ‘elegant with depth and good length’.

£30.30 Liberty Wines

Hattingley Valley, Classic Reserve NV, Hampshire, England

Silver medal winner

‘Rising bread aromas, redcurrant and citrus fruit with some elderflower notes,’ began team leader Angela Reddin, also noting its ‘crisp, clean finish’, while Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group enjoyed its ‘developed character, long finish and great complexity’.

£24.07 Liberty Wines

Sugrue Pierre, Brut 2013, Sussex, England

Silver medal winner

The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira enjoyed its ‘good balance, lemon and raspberry fruit on the nose, and white grape juice character on the palate’, with team leader Laurent Richet MS noting its ‘massive foam, apple and pear fruit with quince and toast notes’.

£32.41 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Jenkyn Place, Brut Cuvée 2010, Hampshire, England

Bronze medal winner

A ‘well-balanced and bright wine with great ageing potential’, thought Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group, enjoying its ‘pear drops and apple, salty character on the nose, chalk minerality and creamy body with a medium finish and oaky hints’.

£19.00 New Generation Wines

Exton Park, Blanc de Noirs NV, Hampshire, England

Bronze medal winner

Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group was clearly impressed with its ‘citrus orange blossom aromas, orchard and stone fruit character with soft, delicate bubbles, luscious fruit on the palate, medium body and long finish’.

£19.00 H2Vin

Ridgeview, Cavendish, Brut 2014, Sussex/South Downs, England

Bronze medal winner

‘Very approachable and frothy, with Red Delicious apple and a touch of residual sugar,’ began consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, with The Don Restaurant’s Antonio Cuadros finding it ‘a bit saline and citric but tasty, with peachy stone fruit and a good, elegant finish’.

£20.00 Bibendum

The Bolney Estate, Blanc de Blancs, Brut 2014, West Sussex, England

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Laurent Richet MS found a ‘delicate nose with earthy hints’, enjoying its ‘oaky Chardonnay palate and great fizz’, and recommending it as ‘great to go with food’, while The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira highlighted its notes of ‘cooked apple, wet grass and raspberry’.

£22.49 Justerini & Brooks, Lanchester Wine Cellars, Dayla, C&O Wines, HT White & Co, Davy's Wine Merchants

Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Hindleap, Classic Cuvée 2014, Sussex , England

Commended medal winner

Exton Park, Brut Reserve NV, Hampshire, England

Commended medal winner

£17.85 H2Vin

Wiston Estate, Brut NV, South Downs, England

Commended medal winner

The Bolney Estate, Bolney Bubbly, Brut NV, West Sussex , England

Commended medal winner

£20.39 Bibendum

Redfold Vineyards, Ambriel, Classic Cuvée NV, West Sussex, England

Commended medal winner

Digby Fine English, Vintage Brut 2010, England , England

Commended medal winner

£24.50 Armit

Hush Heath Estate, Balfour, Leslie's Reserve NV, Kent , England

Commended medal winner

£21.06 Liberty Wines

Harrow & Hope, Blanc de Blancs 2013, Thames & Chilterns, England

Commended medal winner

 

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